The new film opens Nov. 7 in New York at AMC Empire 25 with additional cities to follow. "Fugly," which is billed as an "anti-romantic comedy," will be available on Movies On Demand and VOD Nov. 25.
A fictionalized rendering of Leguizamo's one-man show Ghetto Klown, "Fugly!" casts Leguizamo as Jesse Sanchez, a "ghetto nerd from the Bronx in the 1970's, growing up in the shadow of his older, better-looking brother. Jesse heads off to college where he takes advantage of the incredible ratio of 6 girls to every guy. It is there that this boy undergoes a transformation. It’s where he meets Lara (Radha Mitchell, 'Finding Neverland') and learns to take command of the stage. As a college grad back in New York, during a spur of the moment local comedy night performance infused with his own style of in your face bits on sex, Jesse is discovered by agent Stoddard (Ally Sheedy, 'The Breakfast Club') who says she has found the next Latino sensation. Moments later he meets Zowie (Rosie Perez, 'Fearless' & ABC’s 'The View'), a sexy Nuyorican poetess and passionate lover in search of a man who will take her to the top of the industry. Later, with a rising film and television career, Jesse has newfound fame, money, and a strong social media following. He experiences a life-changing moment that allows him to reflect upon his career and the true love of his life. Back on stage, Jesse finds himself in competition with his ex’s new beau Jeffery (Oscar-nominated Griffin Dunne, 'Dallas Buyers Club')."
About the film Leguizamo said in a previous statement, "This is my first foray into screenwriting and in trying to up-end a format by making an ‘anti-romantic comedy.’ We went very sexual, very aggressive, and exposed some of my life through the character of Jesse. 'Fugly' was a term we used and invented in New York when I was a kid for anything truly abhorrent. It was used on me many a time in my hood. This time I'm appropriating it. This is my revenge through art!"
Ghetto Klown, the solo show conceived by and starring Emmy Award winner Leguizamo, played its final performance at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre July 10, 2011, following 25 previews and 95 regular performances. The show, according to press notes, took audiences "from [Leguizamo's] adolescent memories in Queens to the early days of his acting career during the outrageous '80s avant-garde theatre scene, and on to the sets of major motion pictures and his roles opposite some of Hollywood's biggest stars."